By Mona Charen
"Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring." --Ann Romney
Mrs. Romney's exasperation with conservative critics is understandable. The mainstream press has been like a school of piranhas swarming around her husband. To receive fire from her own side as well -- even constructive advice -- may seem too much to bear.
Mitt Romney is facing perhaps the most corrupt and tendentious coverage in presidential history, as members of the fourth estate eschew any semblance of integrity in their attempt to skew interpretations in favor of their pinup, Mr. Obama.
The examples would fill volumes. Consider Mr. Romney's July trip to Britain, Israel and Poland. Roundly written off as a gaffe-fest by the media (Jon Stewart showed a graphic with Romney's face on a magazine called "National Geogaffic."), Romney actually gave an excellent and well-received speech in Israel where he was embraced literally and figuratively by the prime minister and other leaders.
Though he made one comment about security plans in London that could fairly be described as undiplomatic, it was a footnote. He gave an excellent speech in Poland, noting, "perhaps because here in Poland centralized control is no distant memory, you have brought a special determination to securing a free and prosperous economy."
Romney was basically endorsed by Lech Walesa, an icon of the struggle against communism, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and former president of Poland. But the press devoted 95 percent of the coverage to a Romney press aide chastising the media for failing to show respect at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The treatment of the media is clearly more newsworthy than bilateral relations with a key European ally.
Romney certainly didn't make the kind of cringe-inducing mistake that President Obama made, not off the cuff, but in a prepared statement at the White House. In May, Obama referred to "Polish death camps" when he meant Nazi death camps, on Polish soil. Though the mistake brought a blistering rebuke from Poland's prime minister, who condemned Obama's "ignorance, lack of knowledge" and "bad intentions," the gaffe received only cursory coverage.
In the first hours of the violence that engulfed U.S. embassies on September 11, Romney was lambasted by the press for criticizing a sitting president and for issuing a statement prematurely. Of course, when Obama criticized Bush in 2007 for an attack on a base in Afghanistan, he received no such condemnation.
We are now witnessing the slow-motion implosion of the Obama administration narrative about what happened in Benghazi. Not only did the Obama administration insist, from the beginning and before ascertaining the facts, that the attack on our ambassador and three other Americans was a case of a protest gone wild over an Internet movie, they maintained this obvious deception for nearly two weeks.
As early as September 12, Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, along with officials at the Defense and State Departments, were questioning the White House version. "This was a coordinated attack, more of a commando-style event. It had both coordinated fire, direct fire, indirect fire," Rogers said the day after the attack.
Yet four days later, Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to the Sunday morning political shows to insist that the attack on Americans was basically a negative movie review. Some news organizations are reporting that there was no protest over the Internet film in Benghazi at all, just a coordinated terror attack featuring a former Guantanamo detainee. Do not expect days or weeks of coverage about what a scandal this represents, about the administration's failure to provide adequate security to American diplomats, about the administration's persistence in a lie long after it was obvious that the attack in Libya was a terrorist strike.
The national press has devoted the better part of a week to the Romney video clip regarding the 47 percent. Romney misspoke. He should have said that he seeks every American's vote. But shall we now devote a week to dissecting and deploring Obama's comments, also caught on tape, in which he endorsed the idea of redistribution of income and predicted that welfare recipients and the "working poor" could form a "majority coalition?" Didn't think so. No more than we can expect a truthful account of Obama's gutting of welfare reform, the tax increases on the middle class hidden in Obamacare or the total absence of an Obama plan to revive the economy in a second term.
Never has the press been more supine. It doesn't mean Mrs. Romney is right about conservative criticisms, but it sure makes you sympathize.